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Best Car Vacuums: Helping Keep Your Ride Clean

We look at the best car vacuums to help keep your interior spotless. Armor All, Bissell, Black and Decker, Dyson, and Shark have the tool for you.

Clean It Up

Dirty car interior
Dirty car interior

Moms and dads stressed the importance of cleaning our rooms. Room cleaning was part of the organization, obedience, and understanding of living a disciplined life. But there are other benefits too. If you don’t clean up dirt it will eventually wear down carpets, destroy cloth, and cause allergies, so occasionally vacuuming really helps. The goes the same for your car.

Sitting on discarded wrappers, beach sand, and stale fries isn’t an inviting experience for your car passengers. But it’s hard to fix if you don’t have access to a car vacuum. Sure, you can pick up the trash, but there’s still the dirt, sand, and who knows what else lurking around – even in the leather seats. Where do you turn? Luckily, we’re here to give you some options on the best car vacuums. Not only will you have a ride with an interior that stays perpetually tidy, but you’ll also save money on those trips to the car wash.

What makes a good car vacuum?

One-piece handheld vacuum
One-piece handheld vacuum

Over the years, there have been many versions of car vacuums – especially one-piece handheld models. The problem with small one-piece vacuums is lack of power, versatility, and inability to effectively reach and clean every vehicle area. Sure, they’re convenient to hold, but they don’t have the suction power in the end.

In comparison, as powerful as your home floor vacuum might be, it can’t maneuver in and around the inside of your car. Likewise, a beater brush that works for home carpet won’t fit in an averaged size vehicle footwell. But this doesn’t rule out a home vacuum as an option, and you may already own one.

Before we start, let’s look at some criteria on how we’re judging the best car vacuums. We’re looking for:

  • A one-piece portable vacuum housing
  • Flexible hose attachment
  • Various tool attachments like a soft brush, crevice tool, and small carpet agitator brush
  • Lithium battery if possible or corded household plug at least
Vacuum brush attachment
Vacuum brush attachment

Now a word about those small, battery-powered, handheld vacuums you may be considering. In transparency, since we’ve bought and thrown away our share of handheld vacuums, our recommendation in buying those is “don’t and say you didn’t.” They generally do not have the power needed to do the job and will, if anything, just rearrange the dirt.

It’s also possible that you’re considering a wet/dry shop-vac, which isn’t a bad idea if you have a garage and can justify the cost. Shop-vacs are great at vacuuming up everything from water to debris and will work wonderfully as a car vacuum. If you can use it for other chores around the house, then you will appreciate the purchase. Let’s look at some vacuums to keep your car clean.

Bissell Cleanview Deluxe – $47

Bissell Cleanview Deluxe - amazon.com
Bissell Cleanview Deluxe - amazon.com

When you see the Bissell Cleanview Deluxe on Amazon, its design makes it look huge, but it’s relatively tiny at five pounds. However, its powerful suction makes it seem twice its size. Made by Bissell, a manufacturer of some pretty innovative home vacuums, the Cleanview Deluxe has excellent reviews. You can read Amazon reviews to see that this inexpensive vacuum will compete with much more expensive models. Don’t be confused by its “handheld only” look because it also comes with an attachable hose and multiple attachments needed for every interior dirt hiding place. When it comes time to empty the dirt, you pull out a tray for easy disposal. Filter replacement is just as easy.

Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum – $56

Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum - amazon.com
Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum - amazon.com

Who hasn’t had their dog conveniently rid its stomach of all contents on the backseat of your ride? For that situation or any spilled liquids, you need a wet/dry vacuum. It’s a good thing that Armor All has an inexpensive option for you. You get a selection of nozzles for every area of your vehicle, and The AA255’s 2.5-gallon tank will hold more than what should be floating around in your floorboards.

Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ – $90

Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ - amazon.com
Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ - amazon.com

At 2 pounds, the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ certainly fits the need for a lightweight tool for vacuuming. We loved the no-touch dirt disposal and additional motorized brush attachment. Unfortunately, the Pet Pro+’s lack of a flexible hose keeps us from giving it a strong recommendation, although its size still allows you to get most of the areas that passengers can see. However, reviewers speak positively about the UltraCyclone’s suction power, lithium battery, and washable filter.

Black and Decker 20V Max AdvancedClean+ Vacuum – $90

Black and Decker 20V Max AdvancedClean+ Vacuum - amazon.com
Black and Decker 20V Max AdvancedClean+ Vacuum - amazon.com

Black and Decker brings us a HEPA-certified vacuum with a non-replaceable lithium battery. The AdvancedClean+ looks like a small leaf blower, and the nozzle has an adjustable nozzle to get into hidden places. Its ability to hold 7 cups of dirt and HEPA air filtration helps control allergic reactions to dust in the car.

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Unfortunately, Black and Decker doesn’t include a hose or attachments, and the AdvancedClean+ isn’t quite as small as needed to get into the smaller areas. However, its battery time, decent suction power, and ability to be used around the house makes up for that deficiency. It’s a good option for the right price.

Black and Decker 20V Max Lithium Flex – $125

Black and Decker 20V Max Lithium Flex - amazon.com
Black and Decker 20V Max Lithium Flex - amazon.com

Also from Black and Decker is the 20v Flex. The immediate benefit of this model is the attachments and particularly the 4 ft long flexible hose. This hose allows you to put the 3-pound vacuum down while you get into the crevices under the seat. Amazon reviews are sometimes hit and miss, of course, but comments on the 20v Max aren’t always kind when it comes to suction, and some reviewers say it doesn’t pick up larger pieces of food.

Compared to the AdvancedClean+, we would have to go with the Flex if only for the excellent attachments.

The Bissell Multi Auto 19851 – $180

The Bissell Multi Auto 19851 - bissell.com
The Bissell Multi Auto 19851 - bissell.com

The Multi Auto has the power to vacuum a house and does an excellent job of working around in your car. The tools are well designed and won’t get lost because of Bissell’s innovative on the vacuum storage solution.

The Bissell Multi Auto innovation continues with its built-in accordion hose. The 2-foot-long accordion hose is integrated into the vacuum and extends when you need it for difficult-to-reach places. The Bissell also includes a motorized brush is a user favorite on Amazon, especially those with pets. Many, however, complain that it doesn’t have the suction they were expecting when using the other tools. We would expect more from Bissell at this price point.

Shark Rocket Cordless stick vacuum – $330

Shark, like Bissell and Dyson, make some very effective home vacuum cleaners. In addition, the testing and development of the home systems help provide an excellent car vacuum like the Rocket Corded Bagless Stick Vacuum. From its 25-foot power cord to the attachments, you’ll have no excuse when it comes to keeping your car clean. The benefit of the Shark is that it can easily be converted to a home vacuum for individual rooms in the home. It’s highly effective, easy to use, and verified users on Amazon give it a 5-star rating. Although pricey, it may be your home and car vacuum, and the only way to beat it is with a Dyson.

Dyson V7 Trigger Cordless Handheld Vacuum – $500

Dyson V7 Trigger Cordless Handheld Vacuum - walmart.com
Dyson V7 Trigger Cordless Handheld Vacuum - walmart.com

If you have money and want the most incredible and best car vacuum, you’ll enjoy the Dyson V7. The Dyson can vacuum your car, your house, the dog, and maybe even your yard. Even though it’s a stick vacuum, the stick can be removed, leaving you the ability to attach any one of its six attachments to clean your vehicle’s interior. The lack of a hose and smaller motorized carpet cleaner brush is disappointing, but the brush that comes with the V7 does a fantastic job on the home carpet. The Dyson even has its version of Tesla‘s high-powered Ludicrous mode. In “Boost Mode,” you get super high-power suction, but be warned, Dyson says it drains the battery in less than six minutes.

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Steven Mitchell

Steve's first car had pedals, and he's been filled with passion for four wheels ever since. He lives and breathes the car life as a technologist, futurist, and writer while keeping up with the whys, hows, and plans of the automotive industry. His automotive journey began with a fully restored Triumph TR3b that he sadly never appreciated until decades later. Ownerships of X-1/9's, BMW's, an SVT and a Dodge Ram Hemi have given way to the house of Audi Sport. You'll also find him as an endurance athlete on the bike in SoCal, but you'll know he's thinking about cars.

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